Yesterday, I stopped by the Chopard Boutique on Madison Ave. in Manhattan to pick up my LUC Sport 2000 which was in for an overhaul. As I walked through that neighborhood, I passed the Girard-Perregeaux boutique, the Omega boutique, the soon to be open Breguet boutique, a Mont Blanc boutique, the Franck Muller Watchland boutique, and the Audemars Piguet boutique. All these manufacturer boutiques were within walking distance from renowned dealers like Wempe, Tourneau and Cellini.
I don’t think I would ever buy a watch from a boutique. There’s something more traditional and familiar buying from a local dealer who you can develop a relationship with over time. Since I live in the New York metropolitan area, there’s certainly no shortage of fine dealers in the immediate area which isn’t the case in most parts of the country (and world). Perhaps someone coming to New York wanting to buy a Breguet or other fine watch not immediately available where they live and work would feel more comfortable going right to the boutique. Maybe with all the commerce done over the internet, going to a ‘brick and mortar’ shop to buy is a fading business model anyway.
While having a boutique probably expands the brand visibility, it also excesses the manufacturer’s traditional partner, the independent authorized dealer. Options are always better for the consumer but the boutique option isn’t a desireable option for me.
No first time buyer thinks about after-sales service when you get that dream watch. Within five or so years, if you haven’t sold it for another dream watch (or something else), the spectre of getting it serviced appears. If you chose a fine watch made by Chopard, rest easy.
My LUC Sport 2000 has been in to Chopard’s service facility twice in the five years since I’ve owned it. The first time was under warranty when the crown fell off. Last month, I brought it in for it’s first overhaul. The automatic winding system apparently failed which while disappointing, wasn’t unexpected since it’s a true sport watch that patrols the soccer field as well as going swimming with me. The repair was covered as part of a standard overhaul service which was done within 30 days.
Since I’m in New York City everyday, I have easy access to the Chopard Service facility, located on 63rd Street in Manhattan. Before the relatively new Boutique was built on Madison Ave., you went directly to the service facility to drop off and pick up the watch. Now, you go to the Boutique for that procedure and get the opportunity to be tempted to get a new Chopard. Fun but not great for the wallet.
Despite a puny wrist and a disdain for big watches, my favorite watch is my JLC Reverso Grande GMT. I bought the RG GMT over two years ago from my local JLC AD who made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was all I could do to pay for it so it was originally on a brown croc strap. Last year, I went to the AD to inquire about getting a bracelet. He took one off a Grande Reserve he had in stock, put it on my RG GMT and handed me an invoice for the bracelet that almost made me double over. However, it was the best move I could have made because the watch is just perfect on the outstanding JLC bracelet.
The watch features the JLC caliber 878 movement which is exclusive to this model. It is a manual wind, 8 day movement with a “home” side shown above in a white guilloche dial and a “travel” side shown below with a black dial. The ‘home’ side is just stunning with blued steel hands, a big date, small seconds and a day/night indicator. The two dials are driven by a single movement so the minute hands are synchronized together. The hour hand on the travel side will jump in hourly increments as you engage the pushers on the side of the dial. The hour hand on the ‘home’ side of the watch is unaffected by the pushers. The top button moves the hour hand forward and adjusts the GMT indicator (on the lower left side) as you travel east. The bottom button does the opposite for westerly travel. The power reserve is shown on the travel side with a day/night 24 hour indicator at the lower right. This day/night indicator also adjusts as you engage the pushers on the side of the watch. There is also a hidden detent on the bottom of the movement case which you can access by flipping the watch perpendicular to the watch case. This detent allows you do adjust the GMT indicator independently of the hour hands which is essential if you live in an area where there is daylight savings or summer/winter time. It’s almost impossible to accidentally push the detent.
My first fine mechanical watch is a Glashütte Original PanoReserve. I initially became interested in mechanical watches several years ago. In 2004, I finally decided to take the plunge and started my research. After the initial feelings of being overwhelmed by the technical aspects and the rapidly evolving mechanical watch market subsided, I focused on the PanoReserve. I was drawn to it by the dial design and fantastic level of finishing, inside and out. Continue reading →
Before I get rolling, I am aware that fine mechanical watches are extremely expensive. This isn’t news.
Yesterday, I was out window shopping at a very fine watch shop. I am extremely interested in the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Seconds. I’d post a photo of it but I just don’t have a good one. Superb manufacture 8100 caliber that’s significantly smaller than the tiny (by today’s standards) 35mm case. Manual wind on a black croc strap with buckle. The shop has had it in stock for several months so I visit it periodically. Continue reading →
Old reliable gets some wrist time today. My Glashutte Original Panoreserve is my first fine watch. I’ve have it for almost 4 years now. It’s a terrific timekeeper and still looks great. The stainless steel case is a combination of high polish and matte. I have it on the original strap so it does not see too much warm weather wear but I’m office bound today.
The complication set is a favorite. Power reserve, manual wind, small seconds and big date. Just a great watch.